The Open Havelock Report

We worked closely with residents of the Havelock estate and local stakeholders to produce a feasibility report that was completed in Spring 2019. It identified and evidenced activities that the garages could host and presented generous and transformative design proposals for them that are beginning to materialise on site. Transcribed long form interviews form a rich portrait of perceptions of the estate and its everyday use which informed the proposals. Listen to them here.

Willowbrook courtyards

Design proposals focus on the Willowbrook block within the wider estate. The Grand Union Canal is a huge asset to the site that is currently underutilsed. At the southern end of the Willowbrook block, a base for a canoe club called the Sharks is proposed. Subject to funding being secured, the garages and undercrofts will be remodelled to hold a community gym/ multipurpose room, boat storage, changing facilities and a kitchenette that open on to a garden courtyard.

The proposal for the northern end of the block brings an inaccessible, green space back into use as an enclosed and secure play garden. The adjacent garages and undercrofts will become a toy library with a covered spill out area that leads on to the garden. Entry is through a pramshed behind the garages. In this sequence, the visitor passes from a small space into a larger space and from interior to exterior in degrees. Planning applications have been submitted for the Willowbrook Road proposals which we hope will be approved in the new year and are available to view online through LB Ealing’s website.

Mobile canteen

Currently there is limited food provision on the estate with the nearest cafés and restaurants a ten minute walk away. Alongside the works to the Willowbrook block described above, a mobile food stall is proposed as part of the Open Havelock project that will serve food prepared at the new Southall Manor House catering facilities by Havelock chefs, Deqa Foods and Lock’s Kitchen.

Landscape improvements

Since 2016 Catalyst have worked intensively with local partners to improve the canal edge at Havelock. We propose to consolidate and expand upon this work through improvements to the stretch of the Grand Union Canal between Bixley Fields and Toplocks, This proposal includes towpath regeneration, access improvements, the activation and enhancement of underused canalside, green spaces and a volunteer engagement programme to create a green corridor that local people feel safe and happy to use.


Our feasibility report phased the proposals so that they could be mobilised in advance of full funding being secured. Through small scale interventions and regular programmed activities, each proposal is enacted on site at concept design stage which tests assumptions around its operation and functionality and informs design development. The garages at Willowbrook South have been licensed and adapted for boat storage and at Willowbrook North, a series of play sessions have been commissioned in the garden and undercrofts. We hope that you will join in the activities and help to realise the full potential of the canal and Havelock’s green spaces.

Please visit the community shop at 39 Hunt Road, Havelock, UB2 4QB to see a model of the Willowbrook proposals and to look through printed copies of the report. Please contact with any thoughts or to find out more about the project.